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  • Dec 26, 2014
  • Updated: 7:16pm
Tiananmen Square crackdown

China should 'repudiate June 4', says party official jailed over Tiananmen

Bao Tong, the most senior party official jailed over Tiananmen movement, says all must reflect on 1989 crackdown if the nation is to progress

PUBLISHED : Monday, 03 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 15 April, 2014, 4:46pm


  • Yes: 8%
  • No: 92%
3 Jun 2013
  • Yes
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Total number of votes recorded: 237

Bao Tong , the most senior party official jailed over the Tiananmen pro-democracy movement, said the crackdown must be "completely repudiated" if China is to move forward.

The former top aide of reformist leader Zhao Ziyang said all Chinese people - including top leaders - should stop protecting the legacy of Deng Xiaoping and Mao Zedong and reflect on the events of June 4, 1989.

"Like the Cultural Revolution must be totally repudiated, June 4 must be completely repudiated," Bao said in a telephone interview.

"Like Mao was the symbol for the Cultural Revolution, Deng was the symbol of the June 4 [crackdown]."

Bao was director of the party's Political Reform Office and a member of the Central Committee when the government used armed troops and tanks to crush the student-led movement on June 4, killing hundreds, maybe thousands, of civilians.

"I think every Chinese - officials or ordinary people, those who were persecuted or benefited [from the crackdown] - should all reflect upon this issue," he said. Bao, 81, was jailed for seven years, detained for a further year and has been under house arrest since his release in 1997.

He said he was impressed by President Xi Jinping's emphasis on the importance of constitutional rule, but was "perplexed" it was followed by what appeared to be a tightening of ideological control in recent weeks. A People's Liberation Army Daily editorial proclaimed the Communist doctrine as "the truth of the universe". A Guangming Daily commentary cited Xi as saying the country would have plunged into chaos if Mao had been totally discredited after the Cultural Revolution.

It was also reported university staff have been ordered to steer clear of seven taboo topics in lessons, including press freedom and civil rights.

"[Some say] our China model is the best in the universe and our truth is the truth of the universe," Bao said. But "without repudiating Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping, it's impossible for China to progress".

Bao - who admires Xi's father, reformist party elder Xi Zhongxun - supported Xi's view on the importance of implementing the constitution, but said he would be disappointed "if it only stays a dream", an apparent reference to Xi's "Chinese Dream" slogan for building a strong and prosperous nation.

"I hope Xi Zhongxun's son will do well, otherwise I shall be very disappointed," he said.

Bao's house arrest makes it difficult for friends to visit as they are routinely harassed. Journalists are required to register with security agents. He said he had no regrets about his fate, but he grieved for his countrymen, who had been deprived of free speech for more than two decades.

The silencing of dissident voices had disastrous consequences, he said. "If you cover the mouths of a hundred people, there could still be hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of mouths still speaking.

"But if they silence 1.3 billion people, that's frightening."

After the army opened fire in 1989, lively debates on university campuses and the streets of Beijing died down; the state press, which had grown bolder during the 1980s, was silenced; legislation planned to protect press freedom was quashed; and political reforms were abandoned.

"If all these mouths were still talking, I think [our society] wouldn't be as depraved as it is now," he said. "Corruption, exploitation, the lack of respect for law, these had the support of tanks and machine guns."

Bao, once the political secretary to the Politburo Standing Committee, blamed the barring of free speech after June 4 for the rampant corruption, inequality, environmental degradation and moral crises of today.

And paramount leader Deng, he said, should have foreseen the consequences.

Bao was accused by a court in 1992 of "leaking a state secret" and "inciting counter-revolutionary propaganda" during the pro-democracy movement. He denied the charges.

Initial official reports in 1989 accused Bao of telling his staff of the declaration of martial law before it was officially announced.

Then an indictment in 1992 instead accused him of telling his staff that Zhao would step down.

He insisted these accusations were groundless, but the court still convicted him of revealing an unspecified "important state secret".


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Mr. Bao reflects a voice of conscience over the massacre of thousands of students demonstrating peacefully against corruption and tyranny of the Chinese political elites and their cronies in June of 1989. I was working for a US MNC based in Guangzhou at the time and advised my Chinese colleagues to "stay cool" and await evolutionary social progress. I was wrong. Though China has made quantum leaps to become the world's 2nd largest economy, it has done so by exploiting un-represented workers, farmers, migrants and the mass without a voice. Collectively, they face a future of dim prospect living in toxic filth, drinking polluted water and breathing carcinogenetic smog; their progeny will suffer through a more dire fate, while those from connected families continue to reap the economic benefits of a "quan-xi" driven society. Naturally, families and friends of "the connected" elites have already secured residence and passports to nations offering clean air, water, land and the rule of laws. Mr. Bao's persistence to reflect the truth in history, the events leading to and during the Massacre at Tinanmen Square on the waning hours of June 3, 1989, should be linked and directed to the current state of endemic corruption, gross exploitation of the environment and the un-represented and un-connected mass of people across China today. If Article XIII is enacted into law in Hong Kong, my comments will be interpreted as treason by those who seek favors from the ruling elites!
hard times !
All Chinese living on the Mainland,either persecuted or benefitted from the military crackdown in June 4th 1989 should reflect their roles on the crackdown 24 years after the Massacre which shocked and stunned the world----killing its own unarmed people by assault rifles carrying fatal bullets or had them rolled over by tanks in alleys near the Square on the excuse that they were attempting to overthrow the ruling Communist regime led by Deng Xiao-ping and his alike---the elders in the Party plus premier Li Peng (who has not **** died) and Beijing's party secretary, Li Shek-ming and mayor,Chen Hei-tong (who was later jailed for corruption).The Massacre was first labelled as an anti-revolution act , then changed to a tempest on June 4th and then changed to June 4th Incident---referring to it as a tragedy and something unavoidable as Short Deng thought he lost face while the Soviet President was paying him a visit yet the Square was occupied by his people.To take revenge,Deng would like to kill them all just as he killed the Kuomintang troops in his so-called Huai-Hoi Campaign---surrounding the Kuomintang on three sides while deliberately left one side unguarded to lure them escape through that exit then had them killed---the retreating students from the Square were thus killed in the alleys after leaving the Square which explains why Yuen Mok claimed that no one was killed in the Square.Actually they were gunned down in Chang An Avenue or the alleys (hutongs) near the Square !
"leaking a state secret" and "inciting counter-revolutionary propaganda", typical confucius minded bs!!!
I want to point out to our dear Mr. America that MANY (perhaps most) members of your "represented" working class in your country call your government the "government of the 1%". And I tend to concur with that judgment as I age. The differences between the two governments have been vastly over-exaggerated. How "connected" the elites on Wall Street are is anyone's guess. I have amended the position of my youth regarding the June 4th, when I wore black arm bands with my highschool classmates in Shekou commemorating the democra. Extremists, those who know no compromise, of any political persuasion (including some students and strikers) are as dangerous and culpable as those who ordered soldiers to shoot. Too bad things sank into that squalor, but I respect the CCP's desire to restore order as quickly as possible after 50+ days of student occupation of the Tiananmen.


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